US kids born near fracking sites more at risk of leukaemia, new study finds

Yale scientists believe that fracking can release chemicals that can be associated with the risk of childhood cancer

Big Zero Report 2022

Children living at birth near unconventional oil and gas (UOG) facilities in Pennsylvania, in the US are more likely to develop leukaemia during childhood.

Unconventional oil and gas are more commonly referred to as fracking.

The worrying finding comes from a new study by the Yale School of Public Health, which suggests Pennsylvania children living near these sites were two to three times more likely to be diagnosed with leukaemia between the ages of 2 and 7 than those who did not live near.

The study. which was published yesterday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that out of 2,500 Pennsylvania children, 405 were diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

The study’s Lead Author Nicole Deziel, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, said: “UOG development can both use and release chemicals that have been linked to cancer, so the potential for children living near UOG to be exposed to these chemical carcinogens is a major public health concern.”

Cassandra Clark, Postdoctoral Associate at the Yale Cance Center, said: “Our results indicate that exposure to UOG may be an important risk factor for all, particularly for children exposed in utero.”

In April, the British Geological Survey was commissioned by the government to advise on the latest scientific evidence on fracking.

While the moratorium on gas shale extraction has been in place in the UK since 2019, ministers intend to only proceed with fracking in England only if the science shows it is safe, sustainable and of minimal disturbance for these communities living nearby.

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